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Political struggle

By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by Soong Phui Jee
Sin Chew Daily

The mass rallies scheduled on 9 July 2011 are no longer an activity purely to express demands. Instead, they have turned into a political struggle between the ruling and alternative parties.

From the alternative party's movements, we can see that they have made adequate preparation for the Bersih 2.0 rally and tried to mobilise more people to participate.

For example, a rally launching ceremony was held by the Bersih coalition and SMSs were spread to call on their supporters to wear yellow shirts on 25 June to 2 July as a warm-up for the mass rallies. The Bersih's yellow T-shirts are now available for sale while online campaign to drum up support is proceeding irresistibly.

Meanwhile, Selangor PAS ordered a general mobilisation and at least 50,000 members are expected to attend the rally. The organisers also provide guidance on how to assemble and deal with the police.

At the same time, Pakatan Rakyat leaders also promoted the rally when having ceramah nationwide. The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) also started distributing leaflets urging the public to participate in the rally on 24 June and seven people were arrested in Kluang for distributing leaflets.

On 25 June, Penang police arrested 30 people travelling in a bus and seized 600 pamphlets on the Bersih 2.0 rally. On the same day in Johor Baru, police detained 28 passengers in a bus and two others in a four-wheel drive and 1,435 leaflets were seized.

How could they print the leaflets and pamphlets within such a short period of time if the rally has not been planned earlier?

I believe that Umno leaders have also been informed about the rally earlier and that is why they dare not to take it lightly. First of all, Umno Youth called on another rally on the same day and it was later supported by the MIC Youth. While Umno Youth and Kelab Putra 1Malaysia also launched their "Himpunan Patriot" (Patriots Rally) to counter the Bersih 2.0 rally.

It seems that Umno does not wish to repeat the same mistake during the 2007 Bersih rally as they are going to hold a counter rally this time.

After a warning was issued by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, more arrest and prevention actions are expected be taken by the police to stop people in other states from attending the rallies in Kuala Lumpur. However, it would not be an easy task.

The Pakatan Rakyat's strategy is to approach people from all parts of the country as a warm-up for the next general election while creating political pressure.

If the police's actions, such as setting up roadblocks, cause inconvenience to the people, it would also benefit the Pakatan Rakyat. If the rallies become an issue, it would also affect the BN's election preparation plan. If the general election is delayed to next year, it would be an advantage for the Pakatan Rakyat too as next year's world economy is still an uncertainty.

It seems like the confrontation is mainly between Umno and the Pakatan Rakyat with some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) while other BN component parties have either been marginalised or are unable to keep up.

When MCA President Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said that the party must strategically counter the DAP's attacks, the DAP has gained political propaganda by using the rally issue.

Pakatan Rakyat is good at publicity while the BN relies merely on Umno. If the BN does not implement the direct membership system as soon as possible, the civil society will be penetrated by the Pakatan Rakyat someday, and the BN might be pushed into a passive position.

 

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